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Getting Enough Calcium? Easy Guidelines for Meeting Your Daily Quota

Calcium is critical for bone growth, development, and maintenance at every age and stage of life. A daily diet rich in dairy foods makes it easy to get adequate amounts of calcium. But how much is enough?

The following guidelines issued by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and endorsed by the American Medical Association indicate adequate calcium intake by age group.

Dietary Reference Intakes

Age Group (years)

Adequate Intake (mg/day)


500 mg


800 mg


1,300 mg


1,000 mg


1,200 mg

Source: Food and Nutrition Board,
Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
When purchasing food products, read the Nutrition Facts panel on the side or back of the products' packages. Calcium is listed as a percent daily value based on a 2000-calorie diet to help consumers keep tabs on their daily calcium intake. The fact is, while calcium is an essential part of any balanced diet and is found in a wide variety of foods, most people just don't get enough calcium each day. Use the following chart to ensure you're meeting your daily calcium quota:
Quick-Read Equivalency Chart


Serving Size

Calcium (mg)

Live & Active Culture Yogurt (plain)

One cup

450 mg

Calcium-fortified Orange Juice

One cup

300 mg

Milk, (nonfat)

One cup

300 mg

Chocolate milk 1%

One cup

285 mg

Swiss Cheese

One ounce

270 mg

Cheddar cheese

One ounce

205 mg

Salmon (edible with bones)

3 ounces

180 mg

Frozen yogurt

1/2 cup

155 mg

Turnip greens, cooked

1/2 cup

125 mg

Dried figs


80 mg

Broccoli, cooked

1/2 cup

35 mg

Source: The Food Processor. Esha Research 7.0, 1998